What Does Acrylic Fabric Feel Like? Is Acrylic Itchy or Soft?

Not every fabric can hope to feel like silk but they try. Each fabric has a distinctive feel to it which makes it great for specific sewing projects. Unfortunately, many fabrics feel the same making it hard to tell them apart from each other.

What does acrylic fabric feel like? When it was first made, acrylic had a very scratchy and itchy feel. Much like the fabric is was designed to mimic. Today, after years of technological upgrades, acrylic can feel very soft and smooth. It feels so good that it has made it to the world of professional sports.

To find out more about how acrylic feels just continue to read our article. It has the information you want to know about in case you were thinking of using this cheaper fabric in your next winter clothing sewing project.

What Does Acrylic Fabric Feel Like?


This may be a good era to live in. Everyone has access to the benefits that upgrades to technology provide. One of those benefits is to have soft, smooth man-made fabric that protects your clothing budget.

That is how modern acrylic feels like. It is a soft fabric and gone are the days when it was an itchy, scratchy material that copied the feel of wool to a T. Once one gets past the softness of acrylic they may also experience a feel of plastic.

Getting that feel experience is natural as acrylic is just another form of plastic. It is tougher than other kinds which help make this fabric last and last. It is so durable that when thrown in the landfill it lasts up to 200 years.

Then this material may feel good to those who have allergies to wool. That is not uncommon either as people have allergies to cats, dogs, and other animals. Wool is from sheep and different animals so it stands to reason people will have allergies to natural fabrics.

Acrylic will help those people out immensely and give them a wool alternative that is easy on their sinuses as well as their pocketbooks.

Is Acrylic Itchy?

Only when it was first made. manufacturing processes back in the 40s and 50s of the 20th century were not as precise or elaborate as they now are and acrylic came out with the itchy nature that wool still has in some varieties.

When you are trying to mimic a natural fiber like wool, itchy is something that is not excluded. But over the years those processes were upgraded and fine-tuned and now acrylic is a smooth, fabric that has had its itchiness eliminated.

But nothing is perfect and you may still find some loose threads, etc., that will make you itch. But for the most part, this fabric should be something you will want next to your skin especially when the temperatures get colder than normal.

It is good for layering and has enough positive qualities that you should stay nice and warm when wearing this material. It is good for blankets on those nights you want to save a little on your heating bill.

Is Acrylic Soft?


The good news is that while this is a man-made fabric, it has been made to be nice and soft. It brings a nice feeling to your skin when you put acrylic made clothing items on and they make great socks to wear.

When you want your feet to stay warm while you are outside shoveling snow, or clearing that snow off your car, then acrylic socks are the soft option to wear. These socks should keep your feet nice and warm while you do your winter chores.

Also, a good acrylic sweater will feel nice and soft even though some qualities are not as good as they should be. That is the key to having acrylic feeling soft. It all depends on how it was manufactured.

Look for top-quality acrylic fabric to be softer and not itchy over those lesser qualities you can get in the bargain bin at your favorite fabric outlet. Of course, softness is a subjective feel and what feels soft to one person will not feel soft to another.

How soft you think acrylic is up to your preferences and personal touch.

Why Does Acrylic Feel Hot?

There are many reasons why acrylic will feel hot. First, despite those upgrades in manufacturing, it is still a man mad fabric. That means that its ability to let air flow through its fibers is at a minimum.

Second, the material is not always loose-fitting. The closer to your body and the snugger it feels, the hotter the fabric. Your body heat does not have a chance to escape and you will heat up fairly quickly.

Third, it is made sometimes made with a very tight weave which hinders any heat from also escaping from your body. Fourth, it is water repellent. That means this material does not absorb your sweat and keeps it close to your body. The higher temperatures of sweat add to your discomfort and the feeling of being hot.

They say not to wear acrylic on a warm day as you will overheat fairly quickly.

Is Acrylic Fabric Breathable?


In a word, no. Acrylic was not given very good breathability qualities during its manufacturing process. It is not a fabric you want to wear during the latter parts of Spring thru summer and the early part of Autumn.

It is a great fabric to wear when the warm days have gone and before they appear the next year. Acrylic is made to help you stay warm and mimic wool. There are a few varieties of wool that can be worn in the summer but acrylic does not mimic those.

This fabric mimics the ones that can be worn in winter or late Fall, etc. That is not necessarily bad as you do need to have fabrics that are cold-weather material. The ability to breathe comes in handy when you want to stay comfortable and acrylic is rated as low in this issue.

It is a good material to have over you when you go hiking in the cold or camping high in the mountains. That cool night air can make things uncomfortable for you unless you have a good acrylic blanket covering your body as you sleep.

Is Acrylic Comfortable?

Yes, this material can be comfortable if found in the right quality and thickness. It does mimic wool’s positive attributes and has a comfortable feel to it when things get too cool for cotton, etc.

Where you might not like acrylic is when you start to overheat while underneath the blanket or wearing a sweater. Acrylics' low rating for breathing does tend to get you warmer than usual.

If you are thinking of using it in your home, do not light a fire as this material is highly flammable. That aspect may make you more uncomfortable even though the material feels nice and soft.

Then if you have allergies to wool, you should feel better and more comfortable wearing an acrylic sweater or being under an acrylic blanket than other materials. Your level of comfort will depend on your situation and health issues.

Obviously, people with allergies to chemicals will not feel comfortable wearing or being under acrylic.

What Does Acrylic Sweater Feel Like?


The feel of acrylic sweaters will depend largely upon two factors. Your perception of what softness is and that does change depending on the culture you live in. Some Koreans find softness in marble beds while Filipinos fond softness in wood ones.

The second factor would be the quality of the acrylic material you have purchased. Lower quality acrylic in sweaters will not feel as good as higher quality options. Then acrylic sweaters should feel soft and smooth when you touch it as it is made to have those characteristics.

Some people have found that the weave of the sweater changes the feel of it. They are not warm when they put those sweaters on because the weave may be too loose, or the quality of the material is not as expected.

Personal experience will play a role in how an acrylic sweater feels when you put it on. But do not expect this material to be itchy or scratchy. The current manufacturing processes have worked out those kinks and you should be able to wear acrylic sweaters without worrying about those issues.

How to Make Acrylic Yarn Feel Softer

There may be times that you come across the exceptions to the descriptions we have provided about acrylic fabrics, socks, and sweaters. There may be lower quality material that does come across as itchy or scratchy.

When that situation occurs, you need to turn to your hair conditioner to make the material as soft as you want it to be. The first step is to wash the fabric before wearing it for the first time. You do not know who has handled it before you and dead skin cells, and other contaminants or dirt will have found their way into the fabric.

The presence of those nasty elements helps make the fabric a little more itchy than it should be. Wash the material on warm as hot will shrink it and distort its shape. The second step is to soak it in a hair conditioner.

Any variety will do the job so you do not have to use your favorite when taking this step. Put the acrylic item in a tub or sink and add warm water and the hair conditioner. Then rub the conditioner into the fabric first. There is no need to be gentle here.

Next, let the material soak in that conditioner, and water mixture for at least a couple of hours or let it go overnight. There is no hurry to remove the material from the sink. Finally, after the soaking is done, rinse well and let it dry. Stay away from the dryer unless you use a very low heat level.

Once it is dry, the material should be nice and soft.

Some Uses for Acrylic Fabric


As you know already, acrylic is often used to make sweaters, socks, blankets, and hats. Those 100% acrylic clothing items and accessories have their place in your fashion style. Allergy issues aside, of course.

Also, the fibers make for a good blending partner as acrylic does have some positive characteristics like it doesn’t wrinkle or shrink. That makes your laundry load a lot lighter.

But the acrylic fabric has another use as well. It is often made into upholstery fabric because it can be a very durable fabric to use on furniture. The colors that can be added to this fabric help make your indoor and outdoor furniture more attractive.

The key to using acrylic upholstery material is to find the variety that has been treated to be abrasion-resistant. That way anyone sitting in those chairs, etc., will not harm the material through the friction that occurs.

There are two drawbacks though, to using this material on furniture. First, it will pill on you so you will have to have a fabric shaver on hand or know other ways to get rid of those pills.

The second issue or drawback is that acrylic is very flammable and you have to be careful who sits in the chairs, etc., or if you have an outdoor heat source that gives off sparks.

The good news is that acrylic outdoor fabric is often treated to repel water and resist mildew.

Some Final Words

If you have a sensitive touch you should feel how soft and smooth the acrylic fabric is. But you may also feel the plastic content found in its fibers. This doesn't make it a bad material to wear or sit on. It just means it won’t feel natural.

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